By Emily Parrino
Word was spreading about Regina Brown’s skills as a makeup artist long before she decided to start her business, Gina’s Creative Touch. Mother to sons Jaden, 10, and JaCorian, 15, Brown has lived in Hopkinsville for nearly two decades. While working as a receptionist at the Chamber of Commerce, she found the encouragement to earn her certificate in makeup artistry through the Nashville Academy of Make Up Arts’ rigorous boot-camp program. Juggling home life with a bustling makeover schedule is challenging, but it fits her need for creative expression, her heart for encouraging women and her desire to be near her boys during a difficult divorce.Were you into makeup as a little girl?
Actually, I was a tomboy. I wasn’t into makeup at all. I was out running around with the boys, playing kickball, baseball, dodgeball. It wasn’t until junior high that I even had any thoughts about makeup, and even then, it was really my older sister that was practicing on me. I’d look in the mirror, and for the first time I thought, “Hmm. I like that look.” Then my mom would come in a say, “You get that stuff off her face. She’s not old enough for that yet!” After I got older, I became more interested in makeup artistry and practiced on myself, and my friends would ask for help with their makeup.
How did you get started as a makeup artist?
A friend asked me if I could do her daughter’s prom makeup. So I did, and you know how Facebook is. She posted pictures of her daughter.
Then another one of my friends was getting married, and I did her makeup. She posted pictures too, and then other people started asking me. I thought, there’s nothing wrong with a little extra change here and there, so I started doing others’ makeup. After a year, I thought maybe I could go to school.
How did you begin to book high-profile clients?
I got noticed by News Channel 5, and I’ve been on air five times to do makeup demonstrations. And I’ve been honored to do Pastor Shirley Caesar’s makeup. She was my first celebrity client. CBW Records contacted me when she had a concert in Clarksville because she had seen my work on Facebook. She was very humble; she was such a sweet lady. That was a breakthrough moment, and I felt like I could do it again and again. Every client I do, I feel like they are my celebrity. I appreciate every client.
What do your sons think about your profession?
My children definitely voice it to me that they’re proud of me. My oldest will say that some girl at school asked him if his mom was Miss Makeup Diva. “Yeah, that’s my mom,” he’ll say. My youngest thinks it’s funny. When I’m doing a makeover, he likes to peek at them. Some of the girls will say, “Hey Little Man. What do you think of my face?” He’ll say, “You cute. You cute.” They all laugh.
What influenced you to work out of your home?
Being a single mom, I had to have balance between work and family. When I started out, I’d be gone from morning until 7 or 8 p.m. The time I wanted to spend with the boys, it was gone. I just knew I had to be more accessible to them. So I decided to work from home, and I try to schedule things so I don’t work so late. And since I’m just downstairs, they know they can come to me if they really need something. I do still work outside the home for weddings, and the brides are always asking me to stay for the reception, but I thank them and say I need to get home to my boys. I like to come home and take them out to dinner.
Does your makeup artistry go beyond skin deep?
Sometimes a girl will tell me, “I just feel so ugly.” She’ll be pointing out all the things wrong with her, but I’m seeing beauty. I want women to know they are beautiful with or without the makeup. I’ll say, “Your eyes are beautiful. Look at your cheekbones!” I tell her, “All makeup does is just enhance what’s already there.” It’s my pleasure to let others know I see beauty in them. Sometimes, I’m not just doing makeup, I’m doing therapy! In that chair they’re pouring out their heart. Then, when they look in the mirror after I’m done, I’ll watch their whole personality lighten up. Some of them start crying when I’m done. But if the tears start flowing, then I’m like, “Oh, no — Wait a minute, girl!”
How does your job influence how you raise your boys?
I intentionally teach them how to treat women. I want them to grow up respecting women. In today’s culture, there’s a lack of respect, a lack of chivalry. I want my boys to approach women with respect. I tell them, “Don’t look at girls for their outer beauty.” I tell my boys it’s more so about the inner person.
What would you tell your former tomboy self ?
I would tell my tomboy self to be exactly who she was then, but maybe to stand up for herself more. I was so afraid to hurt other people’s feelings, and I wanted to please everyone. I would tell her to accept herself: skinny, ponytails, dark skinned and all. I would’ve said, “Girl, you’re beautiful.”